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Br Poult Sci. 1999 Mar;40(1):44-51.

Genetic parameters of growth curve parameters in male and female chickens.

Author information

  • 1Station de Recherches Avicoles, INRA, Nouzilly, France. grasteau@tours.inra.fr

Abstract

1. Individual growth curves of 7143 chickens selected for the form of the growth curve were fitted using the Laird form of the Gompertz function, BW4=BW0xe(L/K)(1-e-Kt) where BWt is the body weight at age t, BW0 the estimated hatching weight, L the initial specific growth rate and K the maturation rate. 2. Line and sex effects were significant for each parameter of the growth curve. In males, L, BW0, age and body weight at inflection (T(I)and BWI) were higher whereas K was lower than in females. Lines selected for high adult body weight had higher BW0 and BW(I) whereas lines selected for high juvenile body weight had larger estimates of L and lower estimates of T(I). 3. Data from 38,474 animals were included in order to estimate the genetic parameters of growth curve parameters in males and females, considering them as sex-limited traits. Genetic parameters were estimated with REML (REstricted Maximum Likelihood) and an animal model. Maternal genetic effects were also included. 4. Heritabilities of the growth curve parameters were moderate to high and ranged between 0.31 and 0.54, L, BW0 in both sexes and BW(I) in males exhibited significant maternal heritability. Heritabilities differed between males and females for BWI and T(I). Genetic correlations between sexes differed significantly from one for all parameters. L, K and T(I) were highly correlated but correlations involving BW0 and BW(I) were low to moderate. 5. Sexual dimorphism of body weight at 8 and 36 weeks and of L, K and T(I) was moderately heritable. Selection on growth curve parameters could modify the difference between sexes in precocity and thus in body weight at a given age.

PMID:
10405035
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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